After trade deal, unhealthy foods flowed into Central America, Dominican Republic, study finds

Werner and her co-authors use frozen potatoes as a proxy for the increasing penetration of processed vegetables in local diets because of the product’s near-exclusive use for french fries in the hotel and restaurant sectors, especially fast food chains.


How do free trade agreements impact diet and health?

A study on a trade deal between the U.S. and smaller, developing countries in Central America and the Caribbean highlights the need for policymakers to consider this question, says Marion Werner, associate professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Werner led the research, published this August in the journal Social Science and Medicine. The study analyzes the availability of non-nutritious food in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic in the years after the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) was signed between those countries and the U.S., going into effect in 2006.

The research was a collaboration between Werner and colleagues at UB and the Santo Domingo Institute of Technology (INTEC) in the Dominican Republic.


Published November 13, 2019

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